Late Summer. That little season in between Summer and Autumn. It's an unnamed season by some, whilst others call it an Indian Summer. Summer is still here, we have the same temperatures, but there's a definite shift in energy. There's thunderstorms and hot muggy weather. The mornings are that little bit darker all of a sudden and a little cooler, and there's a final burst of growth in the garden.
In Chinese medicine, Late Summer is as important as any other season
and is one of the Five Elements. This ancient framework of interrelationships describes how we are influenced in mind-body-spirit by different aspects of Nature. The energy of Late Summer corresponds to the nurturing Earth element. This is a powerful time for us to fully ripen and transform, using the last of summer’s bountiful energy.
Late Summer is the shortest of seasons, lasting only four to six weeks.
We have the pleasure once again of Amanda Adey guiding us through this season, showing us what to expect physically and emotionally, and giving us tips on how we can strengthen our bodies and stay grounded through this season.
To help us understand the Earth Element, ask yourself these questions:
- feel like you have your feet on the ground?
- feel too much, have been told you’re over sensitive?
- struggle with overthinking or anxiety?
- have digestive issues?
- never feel good enough or satisfied enough?
- need more strength, personal power to reach your goals?
- seek others for guidance and can’t trust your own inner wisdom?
- give and receive?
- lose sight of your own feelings and needs, being too sympathetic or empathic
- take enough time to smell the roses?
- feel anything about the colour yellow?
Themes of the Earth Element:
Stability ~ when in balance we have regular sleep patterns, keep regular meal times, and make regular bowel movements. We also adapt to change and transition better.
Abundance ~ the earth element must be balanced for abundance of life. When we feel abundant there is more recognition of the beauty around us, love and connection to others.
Giving and receiving ~ we must give back to the earth to get a return. For things to be sustainable there needs to be a balance between giving and receiving.
Nourishment ~ being nourished helps create a healthy digestion, emotionally you can form connections with others, you’re able to receive love. A state of satisfaction and contentment.
Empathy ~ This is the understanding of what someone else is feeling, an ability to tune in to feelings. You may take these feelings on as your own. Become enmeshed in them.
Connection ~ If we feel separated and isolated we don’t survive. We all need connections and a tribe, life is an interconnectedness of all things.
When in Balance:
Emotionally you are grounded and confident, but flexible. You make well-considered decisions, and you don’t doubt yourself in carrying them out. You are solid and stable.
You are left feeling ungrounded and undependable. It makes you “spacy” and unreliable and can make you lose touch with basic reality.
When in Excess:
Too much Earth element can make you feel dull, stubborn, depressed, or despondent. Your body channels may block, resulting in poor digestion and an inability to perceive the world clearly.
Remember this - the Earth element is essentially about stability. Finding more stability in your life mostly boils down to regularity.
When your schedule has a regular rhythm, your body and mind can anticipate the movement of the day without fear. Your nervous system expends much less energy just getting through the day.
Earth personality traits are:
- value friendship
- do well to meditate and nourish themselves physically, emotionally and spiritually daily.
- must learn to develop clear boundaries and take care of themselves.
- Need to learn to honour their sympathetic nature and show great kindness to others.
- Peak time 7-9am
- Main function is the digestive system.
- Takes in new ideas, mixing them, digesting and storing for further assimilation.
- Helps us digest and properly assimilate life experiences
- Being critical, condemning, judgmental will affect the stomach.
- Stomach is very sensitive and reflects our most subtle emotions.
- Positive emotion: contentment
- Negative: Disappointment
Problems in this area:
Emotional upsets, worries, anxiety, fear, impatience, repressed feelings, feeling mistreated, lack of discernment in choices of food, situations in our life.
When the stomach is in balance it affects the shoulder and neck muscles, elbows and wrists and the brain’s ability to be organised and think clearly.
- Peak time 9-11am
- Main function is the lymphatic system including lymph nodes, thymus gland and immune systems
- Looks at what’s toxic & harmful and what needs to be eliminated
- Pancreas function is also related to the spleen and involves sugar metabolism and digestion in general.
- Positive emotion: faith in the future
- Negative emotion: anxiety about the future
When the spleen is strong, we have good appetite, digestion and elimination. The spleen can also control how much energy we have.
When the spleen is in balance it affects the neck, shoulder and back muscles, little finger and thumb, arms, hamstrings and hip areas from a kinesiology balancing perceptive.
Things to do to get the earth element balanced:
- Be grounded - Amanda has written a great blog post on her website with grounding techniques
- Forward-bending postures like wide-legged forward bend
- Sticking to a regular schedule
- Yoga Nidra & meditation
- Making commitments (and keeping them) to increase the energy of Earth element
- Exercise—particularly working up a sweat so the channels become unblocked
- Inducing a light sweat in a steam room
- Twist postures—like revolved chair
- Digestion strengthening postures—like leg-lifts and plank pose
- Take an evening walk
- Share a meal with someone
- Practice receiving and taking compliments
- Give kindness spontaneously